Four decades after kidnapping a Bay Harbor Islands couple and shooting them execution-style them in the woods of South Miami-Dade, Thomas Knight will be put to death by lethal injection on Tuesday night.
Only two inmates have been on Florida’s Death Row longer than Knight, 62, who was first sentenced to die in 1975 for the murder of Sydney and Lillian Gans.
Knight, however, will be executed Tuesday at 6 p.m. for a third murder: the 1980 fatal stabbing of Death Row state corrections officer Richard Burke.
Nonetheless, the surviving relatives of the Gans have the option to attend the execution at the Florida State Prison in Starke. But their daughter, Harriet Shapiro, 73, has chosen not to attend because of her ailing health, son Judd Shapiro said on Monday.
Long court battles and frequent delays over the decades have been stressful for his mother, Shapiro said.
“It’s been so many times now, she’s beginning to lose faith in the system,” Judd Shapiro said of the frequent delays and court battles over the decades.
Knight, who legally changed his name years ago to Askari Abdullah Muhammad, was most recently slated to be executed on Dec. 3 for the Burke murder. The Shapiros had planned to attend.